A Special Appeal to Egypt: Free Saad and Karim

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Kareem(L), Saad (R)We make a special appeal to the Egyptian Authorities to give meaning to the very existence of man–to pursue his lawful goals without let or hindrance; that the basis for such expression lays in the freedom of thought and speech.

Democracy activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim has just been convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for allegedly making unpalatable comments on bilateral trade agreements between Egypt and the United States. A young Egyptian student blogger named Abdul Kareem Nabil Soliman is languishing in a Cairo jail for allegedly defaming the Egyptian President and questioning the Islamisation of his University, Al-Azhar University. Kareem has served two out of a four-year sentence handed him in a kangaroo-like court after truncated investigations.

Obviously, incarcerating people for merely expressing their thoughts can only mean one thing- they live under a repressive regime. We have hoped that African countries that callously suppressed freedom of speech would learn from others such as Ghana. Egypt risks being categorized into the infamous league of repressive states (if not already) if Saad, Kareem and any other persons suffering similar fate continue to be held in prison.